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Where for art thou, Romeo?

Christian Nicholson as Romeo and Logan Schurr as Juliet.

Article by Kathy Dunker with photos by Rachel Zetwick

Where was Romeo? In November he was found at Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) in the school’s modern day approach to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” as seen through the eyes of drama teacher and show director, Mclain Looper.

Looper worked diligently all summer to adapt the script, while keeping the dialogue with the meter and rhythm that is so crucial to the language of Shakespeare. Looper scored the entire production with modern music, including pop, folk, alternative and hip hop, and used the music to segue between scenes. What resulted was a magical creation.

Romeo and Juliet opened with a video presentation of modern day violent images in order to put the audience into the mood surrounding the ongoing violent feud that existed between the two rival families, the Montagues and the Capulets. In this modern day version, the Montagues are Goth and are involved in the record business, while the Capulets are Hollywood, into name brands, and involved in the movie business.

Looper worked with a cast of thirty-five kids and a crew of ten. The show starred eighth graders, Christian Nicholson, as Romeo and, Logan Schurr, as Juliet. The amazing performances by the cast resulted in standing ovations at each of their performances. Said Looper, “I knew this play would stretch them. Acting is hard, and essentially learning a new language is even harder! But they surprised me, and by the end I was more proud of them than I can even put into words. What happened in the end was just awesome!”

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